AS a man—a guest-writer for
this column—I feel diffident about trying any variations on the social themes discussed here with encyelopxdic honesty arid so regalarly, for I have been out of touch for a long time. However, rather than lose entirely the opportunity for letting some of my particular bees buzz. . .
Is there any M.P willing to spend one year (plus wife and two children) in a Portal hut ? Not enough attention is paid to the mental results of living in rooms that are too small. Untidiness is almost impossible to avoid, privacy out of the question, every step must be premeditated or you knock a jug over or step on the child's train. Results: an enormous potential for rows, an artificial concentrated awareness of one another which means inevitably of one another's faults, intellectual claustrophobia, and an urgency for getting out and staying out as often and as long as possible, pub, flicks, dance, or round and round the block, but anywhere away from that cosy labour-saving prefabricated little hell.
Houses have been getting smaller all this century, possibly a reflection of progressively meaner imaginations.
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A NYONE down for re-educating Gerrsmans might profitably read of Maria Poneth's experiment at attempting to civilise thirty or forty potential Himmlers (ages 6 to 14), who had taken riotous possession of a surface shelter in a London street—round Paddington way I should say from occasional hints of locality. The experiment, which is described in a book Branch Street (George Allen and Unwin), partly succeeds, partly fails. The children were unbelievably destructive, cynical, impoverished and lewd. All. with one or two exceptions, attended Anglican or Catholic elementary. schools near the scene of their wildness.
MUSIC for All, Songs for Everybody. Palm Court Orchestra, Carnival Concert, Sunday Rhapsody ... as you may have noticed the B.B.C. has lately turned on the light music with a flourish and a flattering regard for the prejudices of the Little Man that is likely to become tedious. Ralph Hill, that sober and unpedantic music critic for the Radio Tunes, has described in the latest survey of E.N.S.A. activity the extraordinary enthusiasm of Forces audiences for symphony concerts. At one R.A.F. camp 9,000 strong, for the week that the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra was performing there, the hall seating 1,200 was packed every night and even on the Sunday afternoon and evening when everyone off duty spend their time in the town. Altogether 10,000 tickets were sold. There was the same reaction at Portsmouth at concerts given to the Navy.
Good. That's the result of not playing down to what is libellously called " public taste."
But why must we go on being afflicted with that Tchaik Number One ?' There are other piano concertos; but please, please not the Greig in A minor either; twenty-four by Mozart alone—.I think that is the right number—containing some of his most exquisite music. There are quite a number of overworked compositions that deserve a long rest—say three months at least. Besides the two I've just mentioned I can think of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, Beethoven's Symphony in C Minor and (in a very small voice because even I feel it may be a bit blasphemous) Mozart's Symphony 41 in C Major (the Jupiter).
There arc composers, Mozart, Hadyn, Gluck. Vivaldi, Pergolese, Handel, Dvorak, Scarlatti. Debussy, Schubert, who could fill light music programmes for months' with unfamiliar but delightful things.